Parliament adopts Instruments to establish 100 new assemblies

Parliament on Wednesday adopted a report of the Joint Committee on Subsidiary Legislation and Local Government on Legislative Instruments (LIs), to establish 100 new Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies.

This was based on the ruling of the Speaker, Mrs Joyce  Bamford Addo, who moved for the adoption of the report.

The report signed by Mr Kwame Osei-Prempeh, Chairman of the Committee, Mr Francis Kojo Arthur, Member for Gomoa West, Mr Eric Owusu-Mensah, Clerk to the Committee on Subsidiary Legislation, and Ms Evelyn Brefo-Boateng, Clerk to the Committee on Local Government and Rural Development.

It was divided into three appendixes: A, consisting of 23 LIs endorsed by the committee, B, made up of 58 LIs with discrepancies in electoral areas and other defects and C, consisting of 19 LIs, which have constitutional and legal challenges.

Concerning constitutional and Legal challenges, the Committee observed that the creation of districts from existing districts, which have only one constituency posed both constitutional and legal challenges.

Discrepancies include; provision of new electoral areas to some of the LIs though they are not listed in the local government instrument 2010 (L.I. 1983) currently in operation, citing for example out of 33 electoral areas listed in Local Government (Banda District Assembly) (Establishment) Instrument, 2012 (L.I 2092, only 6 are listed in the existing law (LI 1983), 27 of the electoral areas establishing the districts are unknown to the law.

The Minority in Parliament, with reference to appendixes B and C, unanimously supported the motion to adopt the report, based on the recommendations made by the committee to the effect that these appendixes be either withdrawn by the Minister of Local Government and Rural Development or annulled by the House.

The recommendation also indicated that allowing these Instruments to come into force with all the defects would mean an amendment to LI 1983, which would be illegal and also a contravention of the 1992 Constitution and the Local Government Act 1993 (Act 462).

The Committee’s report said that in arriving at its recommendations,  it was mindful of the provisions of Article 11(7) of the Constitution, and affirmed by the Supreme Court in the recent case of Richard Odums vrs Electoral Commission and the Attorney General.

The Supreme Court held that Parliament has no power to effect any amendment in LIs laid in the House, and this meant changes made to LIs laid in the House were of no effect and, therefore, the original LIs will hold sway irrespective of any defect.

The committee also recommended that the LIs listed as Appendix A be allowed  by the House to pass in accordance with 11(7) of the Constitution.

The committee again suggested that in future the House should demand the national population figures as well as the recommendation of the Electoral Commission relative to creation of Districts.

The committee explained that this would enable the House to effectively scrutinize the Instruments, to ensure that they meet the requirements of the Local Government Act 1993 (Act 462 and all other relevant laws.

The Committee finally recommended to the House to adopt its report.

Mr Cletus Avoka, the Majority Leader in Parliament, who was against the Minority’s stance, could not get his case through.

However, the Speaker ruled that by the adoption of the report and by clause (c) of Article 11 (7)  all the LIs came into force with all their defects and challenges.

Source: GNA

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